American Wasteland Soundtrack (2005, Vagrant)
With so many compilation albums of current ersatz “punk” bands paying tribute to ’80s new wave and *gulp* even more repulsing Top 40 and boy-band dreck, the soundtrack to Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland flick taps into a far more logical premise – have today’s buzz-bin youngsters cover old school punk/hardcore standards that everyone knows and loves (or loathes as the case may be). So crazy it just might work, huh? Fall Out Boy breathe some fresh air into the Gorilla Biscuits’ ‘Start Today’,Hot Snakes sandblast their way through Government Issue’s ‘Time to Escape’ with all the abrasive rancor they can muster, while My Chemical Romance and Thrice’s respective renderings of The Misfits ‘Astro Zombies’ and Minor Threat’s ‘Seeing Red’/’Screaming at the Wall’, fit like perfectly broken-in gloves. Saves the Day taking to task the Dead Boy’s 1978 classic “Sonic Reducer,” however is an uncomfortable, not to mentioned forced pairing, and as much as I applaud Taking Back Sunday for tackling the Descendents ‘Suburban Home’, and ‘I Like Food’, a slightly more mature ‘dents chestnut, like ‘Cameage’, or ‘Get the Time’, would have served these Amityville boys a little more naturally. Like any given tribute album, when all is said and done the results are unlikely to be any more revelatory than the original variations, nor should one expect them to be. American Wasteland is no exception, but perhaps a few stray sheep from the Hot Topic flock will be piqued enough to investigate the back catalog of say, Suicidal Tendencies and TSOL (two more groups that get the remake-treatment here).
-Neal Agneta 11/10/05